Notes from a Stylist’s Top Tips on Surviving Sidewalk Sales

 

Above: My spoils of war

There’s not much that slows me down on the shopping front – apart from the odd dodgy wifi internet connection…which I’m sure my hubs has put into place with Cablevision – you know one of those ‘I’ll cross your palm with silver if you cut the wifi whenever my wife approaches an online shop site’ kind of deals – but then I’m all over a good conspiracy theory a la Rupert Murdoch & News of the World.

So this week not even the 102f heat wave could stop me taking a peek at the annual Stepford sidedwalk sale frenzy. This shopping bonanza sees all sorts of malarchy from desparate teeny tiny housewives hammering on Tory Burch store fronts to satiate their desire for a good deal, to teens flash mobbing LF stores in their eagerness to snap up a boho bargain


 

“They just said they’re not opening till 10!” said one aghast shopper who was front of line at Tory – at least the staff had the wherewithall to provide a rather cute chaise lounge for the sweating punters to avail themselves of during that horrific half hour wait. I’m sure there will be therapists all over Stepford working overtime to placate nervous breakdowns related to this four day shopathon.

The great institute that is an American sidewalk sale does come with some risks attached. So here are a couple of helpful hints for those of you mulling over the idea of heading out this weekend….

Guerilla tactics are key – keep your eyes and ears open and use stealth in your approach to each store front – it’s amazing what an overheard snippet can save on the shopping front…at Scoop I overheard one assistant whisper to the other that all they had out front was last seasons tat and inside there were no mark downs…nugget of knowledge duly digested, I saved 15 minutes and skipped further down the Avenue to my next port of call.

Think jumble sale ‘grab and clutch to your bosom’ mentality until you’ve decided wether you really want/need the item you’ve just snatched up in front of your Lilly Pulitzer clad neighbor.

Take water with you..yes some stores start off at 9am with a bottle or two but by 9.30am they are out, (or at least the assistants have doused themselves in Poland Spring in order to keep their tempers from fraying too early on).

Flats are an essential – maybe take a few practice runs in the pair of gladiators or brogues you are planning to wear in order to cut down on wasted time at CVS hunting down blister remedies.

Don’t bother going with friends – it’s a solo gig – real shoppaholics don’t have time to engage in witty banter about this or that as they plow through racks of clothing. You may have the chance to respond to the odd text or instagram chat whilst you’re dashing to your next destination, but please, wasting time dawdling with your buddy does not win you the spoils of the day.

Get a Shopper on the Go App - a fab new app that saves you the trouble of schlepping up and down the sidewalk looking for sales – it uses a sat nav technology to direct you straight to the stores with savings to be had.

Check out Fall 11 trends before you go – there’s always a bunch of pieces on sale that can act as transitional items or great knitwear from last season that will run over to next season.

Aim for accessories rather than clothing – believe me you don’t want to be lining up to try things on when all hell is breaking loose inside a store.

If you’re crazy enough to plan on bringing kids…let alone a buggy with bambino’s in – think again. You might be able to get that pushchair over the threshold but no self respecting sidewalk sale warrior is going to let you get any further in that store lest she loses a bargain.

Lastly – always take time to espy your next investment – i’ve got my eye on this rather charming Stella McCartney wool cape…now if only I could figure out when the Fall sales are….

About Sara

Freelance writer and fashion stylist, Notes from a Stylist blog.
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